Guardians sign Jose Ramirez to extension

Screenshot Jose Ramirez 2021

Guardians fans can now breathe a sigh of relief. Jose Ramirez will be staying in Cleveland for a long time. The best position player on the Guardians has agreed to a contract extension, which is something new compared to recent experience. Ramirez agreed to a five-year, $124 million extension that will keep him in Cleveland through 2028 as first reported by ESPN’s Jeff Passan. Ramirez also gets a no-trade clause as part of the deal.

Many around MLB were surprised by the deal, along with long-time fans of the Indians (now Guardians) who have seen players like Francisco Lindor leave for piles of cash, not to mention greats from the past like Manny Ramirez, Jim Thome, C.C. Sabathia and many others.

Ramirez clearly left money on the table with this deal. He is very comfortable in Cleveland and wanted to stay here. That said he had two more years on his current deal, and a total of $150 million guaranteed will set him and his family up for life. He didn’t chase the last dollar, and the Guardians will be much better for it.

The prospect of trading Ramirez after unloading Lindor and and quiet offseason had to be a very unattractive options for the front office. I thought they would go even higher to keep Jose. But in the end it’s a team-friendly deal that also sets up the player to thrive in a city where he’s comfortable.

Also, over time I suspect we’ll see that the Guardians ultimately kept the better player between Ramirez and Lindor. By FanGraphs’ wins above replacement metric, Ramirez has been the third-most valuable position player of the past five seasons. Lindor is a great talent, but it’s doubtful he will ever live up to his ridiculous deal with the Mets. Linder’s production was already tailing off in Cleveland before his disastrous 2021 season in New York. Perhaps we will rebound in 2022 and for years to come, but many would gladly take Ramirez over Lindor even without considering the salaries. With the salaries it’s no contest. Lindor wanted to play under the big lights of New York, but the pressure got to him last year. Ramirez can continue to play in an environment that he loves.

Now the Guardians need to turn their attention to Shane Bieber. He’s won a Cy Young Award and he’s the ace of a fantastic pitching staff. Bieber signed a one-year contract worth $6 million for the 2022 season and the Guardians avoided arbitration. They control Bieber through the 2024 season, and the team has indicated they want to sign him to a long-term deal. That would go a long way towards rebuilding credibility with the fan base.

The Guardians have a great starting pitching staff and they have some young position players that could blossom into productive players. The team didn’t add veteran bats, but that can happen during the season if the team sees a need. The key will be keeping the pitching staff healthy.

Meanwhile, fans can celebrate opening day with the knowledge that Jose Ramirez will be here for a long time.

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Thoughts on Art Modell

I don’t have much to say about this. I’ve always been a huge Browns fan and I was a big supporter of Art Modell. He loved Cleveland and said he’d never move the team. Then he ripped out the heart of every Browns fan. It’s a permanent stain on his legacy and he shouldn’t be in the Hall of Fame.

Others have had much more to say. Here are links to some great articles from Jeff Passan and Joe Posnanski, who both grew up as Browns fans.

Mary Kay Cabot has a great article on how Modell’s decision haunted him for the rest of his life. I’m not surprised, and frankly he deserved that. But the article offers some interesting insight on how Modell was nudged and possibly pushed into this tragic decision by a nagging wife. It’s pathetic just thinking about it. Tony Grossi also offers great insight in his article about Modell’s passing.